Uniqlo's Owner Takes Rare Step of Naming Suppliers, Revealing 60% Are Chinese
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
Uniqlo's Owner Takes Rare Step of Naming Suppliers, Revealing 60% Are Chinese

(Yicai Global) March 6 -- Fast Retailing Co., owner of Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, has disclosed the names and locations of its 146 main suppliers to further supply chain transparency and underscore its commitment to the environment and human rights. Some 60 percent are Chinese factories.

The Yamaguchi-based company's suppliers are mainly located in the Chinese provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and Guangdong -- traditional textile processing bases. Just three garment makers on the list are located in Japan. The rest are in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

The move was prompted by concerns for worker safety in the wake of overseas media reports about sweatshops in the past few years. An increasing number of human rights advocates and consumer groups have stepped up demands for multinational clothing retailers to take responsibility for decent working conditions. Pollution from garment factories is another focus. Some believe the release of supplier lists could make it easier for third parties to monitor working conditions, thereby urging factories to do a good job in this aspect.

It is unusual for a clothing retailer to publish details of its suppliers. Making such information public comes with the risk of letting rivals know Fast Retailing's 'key assets,' said Group Senior Vice President Yukihiro Nitta.

Fast Retailing looks to go global, according to Chief Executive Tadashi Yanai, Japan's richest man. In addition to overseas markets such as China and South Korea, the group also has stores in the US, the UK, Canada, France and Germany. Fast Retailing announced its march into the Spanish market last month. Making its suppliers list public will be positive for its overseas expansion efforts.

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